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pondering the path

20 July 2012
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i recently decided to read through proverbs, and as i read through chapters four and five i noticed a phrase that was repeated several times:

ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” (proverbs 4:26)

“[the forbidden woman] does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” (proverbs 5:6)

“for a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.” (proverbs 5:21)

i’m not a bible scholar, but i do have some fancy resources, so i can tell you that the word translated “ponder” in the esv is the hebrew word “plas” which has two meanings: “to make level/smooth” or “to ponder or weigh.” the idea here is that we must be careful as we go along and plan where we will step next.

in verse 5:21, we see that God “weighs” all of our paths. he sees the whole picture and he takes it all into account. because God is sovereign and outside of time, he can see the trajectory of our lives, based not only on our actions but also our attitudes, motivations, and character. he knows exactly where we’re headed based on who we are today. the wise man in verse 4:26 takes time to plan his steps and reflects on the path he’s making for his feet. so although we aren’t all-knowing, we can “weigh” our character, attitudes, thoughts, and actions and understand where those things will take us in the future. but the foolish woman in verse 5:6 does no such pondering. she wanders around and doesn’t even realize that she’s wandering because she doesn’t take the time to consider where she’s going.

i’ve often heard it said that no one stumbles into right living. the same is true for fitness, household management, learning a new skill, or being a good spouse. we will never get there by wandering around. personally, i’m not really a goal-oriented person, so i needed solomon’s reminder to stop sitting around hoping i’ll magically turn into the kind of person i’d like to be. note: i’m also not pushing for the self-help approach to life (success means reaching your goals and only you can make it happen)! this is simply God’s reminder to all of us to take a minute to think, “based on who i am today, where will i end up tomorrow?”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 July 2012 21:34

    Great thoughts, Rachel! I am fairly goal-oriented, but this is still a great reminder.

  2. jenny messier permalink
    22 July 2012 04:09

    this is a wee bit of an odd thought given the great depth of your post. i have found myself staring at the picture you posted. the greener & water seem so refreshing in the midst of our drought.

    i find myself in a pondering season of life as i enjoy my last day of 49. i have been writing some notes re: my thoughts on turning 50. if i get brave, maybe i will share them in a fb note so you can see them.

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